Eriksson still working on transition to Bruins

Eriksson still working on transition to Bruins
October 7, 2013, 9:45 pm
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WILMINGTON – One of the nice things about getting off to an undefeated start after the first couple of games is that it can obscure any slow starts for players on the team. New right winger Loui Eriksson has gone scoreless in his first two games while still jelling with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand as linemates.

Eriksson does have six shots on net in the two games and he’s shown some pretty steady flashes of chemistry with his other two skilled forwards. Clearly nobody on the Bruins coaching staff is seeing anything outside what they expected introducing new players to the mix this season.

“You can’t judge or expect miracles in the first few games of the season,” said Claude Julien. “You give them a good month to get to know each other and play together, and you hope in that month it progresses. I’ve seen that so far from training camp until right now.”

But there have been other moments where it’s clearly a work in progress. The rush up the ice to start the second period that ended with Brad Marchand picking a corner of the net was one of the real high points thus far, but Eriksson can feel good things on the rise.

“I think it’s getting better and better as we play. We’re going to try and build on some things and get ready to go for the next game,” said Eriksson. “There are no big adjustments. There are just small things to learn, and just playing in games helps you along with that.

“Sometimes it feels like I want to play like I did in Dallas a little bit, and I’m just trying to learn to stay on my side. I tend to go on the other side a little bit. It’s a pretty simple adjustment, though.”

For a left-handed skater playing on the right wing, it’s an adjustment after playing his natural left wing in Dallas over the last few years. Now he’s forced to get into the right wing mindset permanently and play most pucks sent his way on the backhand – a nuance Eriksson insists is no problem for him.

One thing Claude Julien mentioned over the weekend was a difference in the systems employed by the Dallas Stars and Bruins that has complicated Eriksson’s transition in some ways. The Stars employ more of an “overload” strategy when they’re passing through the neutral zone into the offensive zone, and that means guys in close proximity to each other.

The Bruins typically spread things out in their breakouts, and rely on both good, strong, smart passes to players in motion and textbook dump passes into the corner to set up their offense. Perhaps still feeling a little Dallas in his game, Eriksson and Marchand have bumped into each other in some instances and completely switched sides on the wing at other moments.

Julien said it’s all part of the learning process, and it’s something Jaromir Jagr had to go through when he came over from Dallas midseason as well.

“It’s the same adjustment as it was for Jags [Jaromir Jagr], and those guys," Julien said. "There are a lot of teams that continue to overload. Our breakouts have been good in the past years because of the reason we don’t overload necessarily, and that’s our belief. So it’s a bit of a change there for those kinds of players, and it takes a little bit of time just like anything else. If you’re a bad driver, it’s going to take a while before we get you back on track. So it’s like anything else…you just don’t become a good driver overnight. It takes practice. It takes time. I think the same thing for those guys that are doing that stuff.”

Despite all adjustments that will go on before Eriksson is fully immersed in Boston, there’s no denying the potential that made him a 30-goal, 70-point guy in Dallas is still locked in there waiting to come out.